Alabama Requires Fingerprints of Prison Visitors; First in Nation


Alabama now requires visitors at the state's prisons to have their fingerprint scanned before they are allowed to enter. No other state prison system in the country has a similar requirement, reports the Montgomery Advertiser. The requirement, implemented last month, is drawing criticism.

State prisons routinely require that visitors be approved, and each visitor undergoes a criminal background check. But the fingerprint requirement is “extreme,” said David Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project. He noted that no other state requires fingerprinting and called it “an unnecessary barrier to visiting inmates.” Visitors with prior criminal convictions can be approved, but standard practice among the state prison systems is that the warden of the individual facility has the power to approve who is on the visiting list based on safety and security concerns.

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